Warner Bros. announced that it will pull all Harry Potter DVDs and Blu-rays from store shelves on December 29, 2011.
The move follows the November 11 home entertainment release of the final film in the franchise, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2," which should send disc sales into the stratosphere. The studio is also releasing a box-set of all eight Potter films on that date.
The article says Warner’s taking a page out of Disney’s book, since MouseCo. regularly cycles their properties in and out of the “vault” to build demand and entice people to pay for the 9th copy of “Lion King” by adding things the previous version didn’t have. But “Harry Potter” is not the “Lion King.” It’s a popular series of books constantly being discovered by new sets of readers, who will want to watch the movies as they go along. They’re not entirely out of luck: Warners says the movies will be available on VOD or digital downloads, but that seems to defeat the purpose of removing the discs. It only inconveniences families who want to watch them on DVD, which is just about everyone.
Perhaps they’ll be released into theaters, but that’s not the same. Unless George Lucas will be hired to “improve” the original movies. Meanwhile, kids will just learn how to pirate them from the internet, so they don’t get a DRM version they can’t play on their iPhone touch. Hard to see how this works out well for anyone.